Analysis of the 2007–2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS): Examining Neurological Complications among Children with Sickle Cell Disease in the United States

Emmanuel Peprah, Joyce Gyamfi, Justin Tyler Lee, Farha Islam, Jumoke Opeyemi, Siphra Tampubolon, Temitope Ojo, Wanqiu Qiao, Andi Mai, Cong Wang, Dorice Vieira, Shreya Meda, Deborah Adenikinju, Nana Osei-Tutu, Nessa Ryan, Gbenga Ogedegbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compared neurological complications among a national sample of United States children with or without sickle cell disease (SCD) and evaluated health status, healthcare and special education utilization patterns, barriers to care, and association of SCD status and demographics/socioeconomic status (SES) on comorbidities and healthcare utilization. Data was acquired from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Sample Child Core questionnaire 2007–2018 dataset that included 133,542 children. An affirmation from the guardian of the child determined the presence of SCD. Regression analysis was used to compare the associations between SCD and demographics/SES on neurological conditions at p < 0.05. Furthermore, adjusted odds ratios (AORs) were estimated for having various neurological conditions. Of the 133,481 children included in the NHIS, the mean age was 8.5 years (SD: 0.02) and 215 had SCD. Of the children with SCD, the sample composition included male (n = 110), and Black (n = 82%). The SCD sample had higher odds of having neuro-developmental conditions (p < 0.1). Families of Black children (55% weighted) reported household incomes < 100% of federal poverty level. Black children were more likely to experience longer wait times to see the doctor (AOR, 0.3; CI 0.1–1.1). Compared to children without SCD, those with SCD had a greater chance of seeing a medical specialist within 12 months (AOR 2.3; CI 1.5–3.7). This representative sample of US children with SCD shows higher odds of developing neurological complications, increased healthcare and special education services utilization, with Black children experiencing a disproportionate burden. This creates the urgency to address the health burden for children with SCD by implementing interventions in healthcare and increasing education assistance programs to combat neurocognitive impairments, especially among Black children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6137
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • African Americans
  • Black children
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • healthcare barriers
  • healthcare utilization
  • maternal education
  • neurological complications
  • sickle cell disease
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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